America fought to gain independence from British colonial power between 1763 and 1783. It wasn't just a battle won by American revolutionaries. It was also lost by the British. Combining fascinating scenes of dissent in domestic British politics with graphic descriptions of the war in America, Weintraub's narrative is a page-turning story of military and political misfortune. As George Washington managed to hold his ragged and overmatched Continental army together and create a nation, his opponents -- principally King George III and his prime minister, Lord North -- themselves faced increasing resistance to the war's brutality and costs. Their opponents in Parliament and the press gradually turned pacifist and sympathetic to the Americans, and were unwilling to bear the costs of the Empire in America. As the tide turned on the battlefield, the 'iron tears' of muskets and cannon shed by the redcoats were matched by tearful protests in London. Although King George threatened to abdicate in frustration, many British merchants, voters, and politicians supported the cause of the new American nation, and were inspired by the leadership of Washington. Stanley Weintraub's masterful and eye-opening new history of the American War of Independence is the first ever written from a trans-Atlantic perspective.
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Iron Tears examines the Revolutionary War primarily from the perspective of British politicians, soldiers, citizens, and the royal court of King George III. In this enjoyable and enlightening book, American historian Stanley Weintraub looks at myopic King George and his ambition to hold the colonies at any price, discusses how antiwar opposition in Parliament gradually gained momentum, and studies the sentiments of the general population who were forced to pay heavy taxes to support the conflict, causing resentment and, in 1780, a riot. Despite such rumblings all around him, the insulated king failed to realize how much the situation in far-off America affected domestic issues in England and was shocked enough when he lost America that he considered abdicating his throne. Most British citizens did not take it nearly as hard; many, in fact, welcomed the chance to get back to business with the Americans, feeling that commerce had been interrupted long enough by an expensive and unnecessary war.
Weintraub also covers the battles on the other side of the Atlantic and offers profiles of the major players, particularly George Washington, who became a folk hero in Britain, earning the admiration of even those ardently against the American cause. The consequences of Britain's hiring of thousands of foreign mercenaries, some of which ended up deserting and settling permanently in America, are also discussed, along with the issue of why loyalists in the colonies failed to join the redcoats in significant numbers. Most importantly, in detailing the strategic and tactical mistakes made by Britain, the author highlights the various circumstances that greatly favored the rebellious colonies from the beginning, including the sheer vastness of America and the maddening logistical difficulties involved in sending soldiers, provisions, and messages across the ocean. Weintraub makes a compelling case that the mighty British Empire never really had a chance. --Shawn CarkonenAbout the Author:
Stanley Weintraub is Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at Penn State University and the author of notable histories and biographies including 11 Days in December, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, MacArthur's War, Long Day's Journey into War, and A Stillness Heard Round the World: The End of the Great War. He lives in Newark, Delaware.
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